|Destination: Trang An Scenic Landscape in Ninh Binh Province was named on UNESCO's World Heritage List in June 2014, the country's first site to be acknowledged as a mixed natural and cultural site. — VNA/VNS Photo Manh Thang
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam will facilitate visa processing for foreign tourists, open new direct international flights and improve its tourism environment in order to attract more tourists in 2015, said Nguyen Van Tuan, general director of the Viet Nam National Administration for Tourism (VNAT), at a conference in Ha Noi yesterday.
Viet Nam welcomed 7.87 million foreign tourists and 38.5 domestic tourists in 2014.
In 2015, the country expects 8.5 million foreign tourists and 41 million domestic tourists, bringing in revenue of VND270 billion (US$135,000).
"The country's tourism sector faced difficulties in 2014 due to regional tensions and world conflicts and problems. But it also achieved success. We will try our best to develop tourism next year," Tuan said.
The VNAT would co-ordinate with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and other relevant ministries to carry out the new resolution that the Government has issued to boost tourism development in 2015, according to Tuan.
The resolution asks agencies at all levels to raise their awareness of the role and position of the tourism sector, especially when it comes to restructuring the economy, generating jobs, reducing poverty and protecting the environment.
Localities, especially tourism hubs, were requested to encourage residents to help ensure security and social order, protect the environment and communicate with tourists in a friendly way.
The resolution also paves the way for more state investment in tourism so that it can become a spearhead economic sector with the implementation of the National Tourism Action Plan in the 2013-20 period and the 2012-15 National Tourism Promotion Programme.
The Government also asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment to work with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MoCST) and Ministry of Finance (MoF) to review regulations on increasing preferential policies for investment and business in hotels, agents, eco-tourism and community-based tourism.
The government would also think about enlarging the list of countries whose citizens can be exempted from visas. Tuan said the VNAT had proposed adding several European countries including the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy as well as New Zealand and Canada.
The government will also implement policies to support travel enterprises.
The MoCST was assigned to co-operate with the MoF, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, other relevant ministries and agencies to review regulations to cut land taxes and fees for large-scale tourism projects.
Tuan also said that more tour guides speaking foreign languages such as Japanese, Korean and Russian would be trained and offered jobs. — VNS